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By Stanford Continuing Studies Program

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Hannibal is a name that evoked fear among the ancient Romans for decades. His courage, cunning and intrepid march across the dangerous Alps in 218 BCE with his army and war elephants make for some of the most exciting passages found in ancient historical texts written by Polybius, Livy, and Appian. And they continue to inspire historians and archaeologists today. The mystery of his exact route is still a topic of debate, one that has consumed Patrick Hunt (Director of Stanford’s Alpine Archaeology Project) for more than a decade. This course examines Hannibal’s childhood and his young soldierly exploits in Spain. Then it follows him over the Pyrenees and into Gaul, the Alps, Italy, and beyond, examining his victories over the Romans, his brilliance as a military strategist, and his legacy after the Punic Wars. Along the way, students will learn about archaeologists’ efforts to retrace Hannibal’s journey through the Alps and the cutting-edge methods that they are using. Hunt has been on foot over every major Alpine pass and has now determined the most probable sites where archaeological evidence can be found to help solve the mystery. Presented by the Stanford Continuing Studies Program.

Customer Reviews

Fascinating and passionate

I am not sure why the previous reviewer was critical of this lecture series, all I can say is he gave up too soon. I found the series very informative and I quite enjoyed the eye-witness accounts of those who hiked the different passes. While historical facts may be easily acquired through study, the first hand accounts of this series are unique. I hope to revisit this series several times to completely assimilate all the information offered. Patrick Hunt is passionate about his subject and this passion to learn and share what he has learned is most evident.

Love Hannibal, but...

I listened to the whole lecture series. I love reading about Hannibal, and was hoping to get more information on his life from this lecture series, but it took a really brief, high level view of the events in his life, and dealt with Scipio a bit inaccurately, to boot. (Scipio wasn't just given command, he had to argue for it, and his veterans didn't pop out of nowhere, they were survivors of Cannae living in shame in Sicily due to their loss, etc.) I don't think these lectures did the subject justice, in other words.

That said, it was quite interesting listening to the lectures about the archeological expeditions to the various passes in the Alps. So much so that because of these lectures, and Cottrell's great book on Hannibal, I'm going to plan a trip there the next chance I get. I've been to both Switzerland and France before, but if I can get my wife to sign on to the idea, I'd love to do the hike myself.

Get to the point

Nothing can replace being in a lecture in person. Its critically important that the subject matter and lecturer be engaging. Those who would download a university lecture for fun must have a genuine interest in the subject matter. So whenever a poor iTunes u experience occurs it is the fault of the professor.

Full disclosure, I only listened to the first three. And that's my point. When the professor takes so long to get to the point and you're constantly hitting the "back 30 seconds" button, the is ruined. In those 3 lectures I learned the carthaginians sacrificed their first born son. That's it. I didn't even relearn anything I already knew (vie studied ancient roman and Greek history).

I'm sure this guy isn't bad in a live lecture but in podcast form it's horrible. A good contrast is the professor from UC Berkeley who teaches "history 5", history of modern Europe. She's riveting. And unfortunately, I'm beginning to notice a trend amongst the Stanford podcasts, they're not good. Of course don't read into that as Stanford being a poor school, it's just a statement about the podcasts they upload.